SOURCE: Finistere Ventures LLC

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June 22, 2016 07:30 ET

Radicle Accelerator Founded by AgTech Leaders to Grow Next Crop of Ag Disruptors

Powerful Ecosystem of Experienced Investors, Advisors and Ag Partners to Collaborate on New Accelerator

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - June 22, 2016) - AgTech venture capital firm Finistere Ventures, Cloud Break Advisors and an alliance of top Ag industry leaders today officially launched Radicle, an accelerator fund dedicated to growing early stage agricultural technology startups into proven industry leaders. Radicle aims to reduce the time to develop, market and commercialize new Ag technologies; founding members include Bayer, DuPont and OurCrowd, a leading Israeli venture capital firm.

As a $15M fund with $6 million in initial closing commitments, Radicle leaders will share their perspective on the future of AgTech and vision for the accelerator fund during various industry panels at AgTech Week 2016, hosted by Global AgInvesting.

"Turning brilliant ideas into viable farming industry businesses requires an intricate combination of industry experience, academic resources, in-field validation opportunities and a diverse collection of agricultural partners and investment advisors," said Kirk Haney, CEO of Cloud Break Advisors. "Our entrepreneurial roots, deep-rooted Ag network, and proven ability to successfully select and develop game-changing Ag companies ensures we can help AgTech innovators reach their full potential. By better understanding and managing the global AgTech opportunity, we provide a fertile environment for AgTech visionaries to not just grow, but to flourish."

With a focus on global Ag solutions, Radicle now offers a specialized platform to incubate high-quality AgTech companies that can solve global farming problems.

"DuPont Pioneer continually scouts the innovation frontier for novel ways to improve agricultural productivity and seeks to collaborate with those on the cutting edge of science, even at the earliest stages of technology development," said Neal Gutterson, vice president, Research & Development, DuPont Pioneer. "Radicle's virtual accelerator operating model and investing approach is expected to help Pioneer achieve these objectives."

Radicle focuses on the areas where growers face the greatest challenges to productivity, sustainability and quality in food and agriculture. These include technology fields like genomics and plant sciences, seed tech, biologicals for crop protection and regulation, digital Ag (application of data and predictive analytics to precision Ag), and disruptive or novel farm systems.

Arama Kukutai, Partner at Finistere Ventures noted, "By providing a seed funding round and comprehensive diligence, Radicle offers a unique platform to help entrepreneurs build a Series A finance ready company faster, with less capital. Radicle takes technology from global innovation centers that are already de-risked from a science perspective, and then applies its deep domain knowledge, connected network of capital, talent and market access. We expect a deeper and better prepared pipeline of new AgTech companies to emerge."

The Radicle accelerator fund provides:

  • Expert advisory services and strategic mentorship from a wide network of Ag experts and proven entrepreneurs
  • Access to key leaders and corporate relationships across a range of Ag focus areas
  • Connections with top academic institutions including Texas A&M, University of California, University of Missouri, University of Queensland, and the University of Wisconsin Madison
  • Strong industry collaboration with Ag leaders such as Bayer and DuPont Pioneer
  • A network of participating public and private research institutes including Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy, Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, BSES, CSIRO, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Landcare Research
  • Follow-on financing round options from the founding investors and their networks once companies "graduate" from the accelerator
  • A service platform with an intense focus on value creation initiatives and exit planning guidance from the start

"Investing in the Radicle accelerator fits perfectly with Bayer's global investment strategy," added Geoff Kneen, R&D Licensing & New Ventures Manager for North America, Bayer. "It complements our VC partnership with Finistere, which can support earlier stage ventures in the United States with a global pipeline. The deep AgTech knowledge and experience of the management team and investor partners will be able to provide strong guidance to the start-up companies."

Radicle maintains a physical presence in all core markets, including San Diego, Palo Alto, Research Triangle Park, the Midwest and Israel. In addition, with an expansive global reach, Radicle currently partners with: CSIRO and Uniseed (Australia); AVAC and Verdex Capital (Canada); Innovation Endeavors, OurCrowd and Yarden Group (Israel); as well as select accelerators and incubators in Australia and beyond. For investment partners, Radicle actively screens potential deals based on technology, execution and market risks, and can rapidly vet and validate technologies based on its extensive farming base.

David Stark, General Partner at Our Crowd, added, "Forced to overcome the challenge of making the desert bloom, Israel has a long history of agricultural innovation and today is home to a multitude of world-class AgTech startups. We are excited to work with our partners at Radicle to bring to market solutions that address the greatest challenges that will face farmers over the next half century and to open these investment opportunities to our global network of investors via our online platform."

Finistere has a long history of successful AgTech investments -- including current portfolio companies CropX and ZeaKal -- that increase the sustainability, profitability and productivity of agriculture. Finistere continues to deepen its commitment to creating global Ag leaders that will help farmers overcome growing environmental, economic, resource and population demands. The establishment of Radicle complements the recent launch of Willow Hill Ventures -- the first Ag venture fund with a captive farmland base and on-farm innovation ecosystem dedicated to growth capital.

About Radicle

Radicle is an accelerator fund dedicated to growing early stage agricultural technology startups into industry leaders. With a focus on global Ag solutions, Radicle offers a specialized platform to incubate high-quality AgTech companies that can solve global farming problems. Founded by AgTech venture capital firm Finistere Ventures, Cloud Break Advisors and an alliance of top Ag industry leaders; Bayer, DuPont Pioneer and OurCrowd, Radicle maintains a physical presence in core markets, including San Diego, Palo Alto, Research Triangle Park, the Midwest and Israel. Visit www.radiclellc.com.

About Finistere Ventures

Finistere Ventures is a leading California-based agricultural technology and life sciences venture capital investor with offices in Palo Alto and San Diego. The team has developed and invested in some of the most successful AgTech companies of the last 20 years. Visit www.FinistereVentures.com.

Bayer: Science For A Better Life

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2015, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of EUR 46.3 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.3 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.

About DuPont Pioneer

DuPont Pioneer is the world's leading developer and supplier of advanced plant genetics, providing high-quality seeds to farmers in more than 90 countries. Pioneer provides agronomic support and services to help increase farmer productivity and profitability and strives to develop sustainable agricultural systems for people everywhere. Science with Service Delivering Success®.

℠ Trademarks and service marks of DuPont, Pioneer or their respective owners.

About OurCrowd

OurCrowd is a leading venture capital equity crowdfunding platform for investors from around the world to invest in global startups. Managed by a team of seasoned investment professionals, OurCrowd vets and selects opportunities, invests its own capital, and brings companies to its accredited membership of global investors. OurCrowd and its investors have invested over $220M in 100 portfolio companies, generating six exits in three years. To become an OurCrowd member as an accredited investor, visit www.ourcrowd.com and click Join.

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